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Amanda Little's Posts

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Bush pushes his Clear Skies plan — and his electoral prospects — at a notoriously dirty power plan

Bush talks to the masses in Michigan. Photo: White House. When President Bush set out on Monday to defend his recent New Source Review rollback and promote his energy bill and Clear Skies program, it was hard not to notice the peculiar setting he chose. Wearing a hardhat and safety glasses, the commander in chief mingled with a crowd of begoggled workers at a hulking dinosaur of a power plant in Monroe, Mich. Built in 1970, the facility is the second largest coal-fired plant in the United States -- and one of the dirtiest, emitting 91,964 tons of sulfur dioxide, …

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Hillary Clinton threatens to block Bush’s EPA nominee

As the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks looms, the Bush administration is facing opprobrium for having deceived the American public about possible air-quality concerns at Ground Zero. Behind the scenes, the issue has become somewhat bizarrely entwined with another hot topic: the confirmation of Republican Gov. Michael Leavitt of Utah as the new U.S. EPA administrator. What's the connection? Nada. But Leavitt's confirmation hearing can be delayed by filibuster, which means it offers environmentally minded senators a megaphone to address the Ground Zero quandary and other green grievances. What does this man have to do with Ground …

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Keeping tabs on the Bush administration’s environmental record

Just after George W. Bush took office, two memos circulated among his top administrators that set the stage for what the president, during his campaign, promoted as a new era of environmental policy. On Bush's first day in office, January 20, 2001, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card sent a memo to all cabinet members directing them to ice more than 50 regulations (many of them several years in the making) that had been approved toward the end of the Clinton administration. The rules were not to be enacted unless the White House Office of Management and Budget could …

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Lessons from Blackout 2003

Things started to go awry near Cleveland at 3:06 p.m. on Aug. 14, more than an hour before the largest North American blackout in history. A transmission line carrying 345 kilovolts of power overheated, sagged into a tree, and automatically shut off to protect itself from melting entirely. Instantaneously, the colossal current of electricity it was carrying found a new route, sluicing into a neighboring cable. Twenty-six minutes later, the cable that picked up the misplaced load was also toast, a victim of overload. Stranded commuters cross the Brooklyn Bridge during the blackout. As the mounting flow of wayward electricity …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus and husband Brad Hall discuss their eco-friendly hideaway

Long before they joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live," before she played Elaine on "Seinfeld" and he became a writer/producer for shows ranging from "The Single Guy" to "Frasier," Julia Louis-Dreyfus and husband Brad Hall were devout environmentalists. Now they are key players in Hollywood's green vanguard. Over the past decade she has been actively involved with nearly a dozen environmental organizations, including Heal the Bay, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Trust for Public Land; he is helping lead the effort at the Environmental Media Association to get energy-guzzling Hollywood studios to reform their wasteful operations. Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Photo: …

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New clean-energy coalitions talk up national security and the economy

Two ambitious clean-energy coalitions made headlines this month, sweeping out from under the rug vital and far-reaching environmental issues that the Bush administration has steadfastly ignored. The Energy Future Coalition, boasting endorsements from heavies on both sides of the party line as well as from high-profile industry and environmental interests, called for a one-third reduction in U.S. oil consumption and a one-third reduction in carbon dioxide emissions over the next 25 years. At the same time (though in a completely unrelated effort), the Apollo Alliance, a labor-environmental coalition endorsed by a dozen influential unions, called for a 10-year, $300 billion …

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The rebuilt World Trade Center complex could be a model of sustainable building

Early one morning last month, over fresh-squeezed orange juice and silver platters of breakfast treats, a coterie of New York's leading architects, developers, politicians, and environmentalists convened in a chandeliered room at the Embassy Suites hotel in lower Manhattan for a conference entitled "Greening Our Downtown." The keynote speaker was Gov. George Pataki (R), who was there to receive an award from the U.S. Green Building Council for his efforts to promote green buildings in his state and, in particular, in downtown New York City. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, architect Daniel Libeskind, and Gov. George Pataki. Photo: New …

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A Grist interview with Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean

With George W. Bush boasting perhaps the worst environmental record of any president in U.S. history, it almost goes without saying that any contender in the 2004 election will appear to be an environmentalist nonpareil by comparison. Indeed, nearly every Democrat running for president is advertising himself as just that, and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is no exception. On April 22, Earth Day 2003, Dean posted a message on his website that read, "As an outdoorsman, I have experienced the incredible power of the natural world. I am horrified by what the Bush administration is doing to our land, …

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The feds are backing nuclear power — in the name of the environment

It's a long-held tenet of U.S. environmentalists that nuclear power is bad news. Critics argue that the clean-air benefits of nuclear reactors are far outweighed by the consequences of uranium mining and radioactive waste storage -- not to mention the damage that could result from an accident at an atomic power station. Now more than ever, with growing concern about terrorist attacks on nuclear plants, this energy source simply doesn't seem to be worth the risk. Nuclear and present danger? And yet, nuclear plants currently generate 20 percent of U.S. electricity. Whether we like it or not, removing that supply …

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What can we learn from Bush’s FreedomCar Plan?

Following the State of the Union address in which President Bush laid out his new FreedomCAR and Fuel Initiative, which was cheered by automakers and jeered by environmentalists, hydrogen fever swept from the Beltway into the printing presses and airwaves of mainstream media. CNN, Business Week, the New York Times, and U.S. News and World Report, among others, ran stories that, although sometimes skeptical of the Bush plan, trumpeted the promise of a hydrogen economy, calling it the antidote to both our dependence on foreign oil and the mounting threat of global warming. Bush delivering the State of the Union. …

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